The state of Texas has a large public school student population and thus carries an inordinate amount of weight in the billion-dollar textbook industry. Publishers know that public school books are sanctioned statewide in Texas, narrowing local school board choices down to only a few. So they write their textbooks to Texas regulatory standards, knowing that many school boards in other states will go along.
Every so often the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) formulates a policy on controversial issues, such as creation/evolution, that influences textbook content. As noted in numerous polls, the majority of Texans hold some form of the Christian and creationist viewpoint. Will the SBOE members' decisions mirror the view of the people, or will they interject an "evolution-only" (origins by accident) bias into the textbooks?
For years the SBOE chose merely to empower the public school teachers with the regulatory mandate to teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of the origins issue, rather than include a discussion in the textbooks themselves. Some evolutionary advocates, however, have moved to have even such a minor opportunity to critique evolution removed from the standards. The issue came to a head in January, and the public (including some "experts") gathered to testify.
The hearings and final decision came soon after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, who figured prominently in the testimony. In his inauguration address he listed things needing to be done, including "We will restore science to its rightful place." This loaded statement became a rallying cry for those insecure evolutionists who insist they must censure discussion and indoctrinate students in only the naturalistic (read "atheistic") viewpoint. And so the SBOE moved to strike the seemingly innocuous statement from the standards.
But it wasn't a total loss. The SBOE also approved a series of amendments, including one that requires high school students to "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record." (Final SBOE action is coming.)
Look for President Obama's statement to appear often from now on in relation to creation/evolution and pro-life/abortion controversies. Evolutionists will surely use it to justify more aggressive teaching of evolution and censuring dissent, "returning science to its rightful place." But just what is science's rightful place?
Science as a legitimate exercise was given to mankind when the Creator told Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over…every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28). Theologians and language scholars have long held that "subdue" implies a serious study of creation, discovering its true nature. To "have dominion" over creation implies applying that knowledge to glorify the Creator and benefit man, and so manage creation.
Science's rightful place is certainly not to leave God out of the picture, denying Him His rightful glory as Creator and Sustainer of all. It likewise doesn't mean teaching students it all happened by strictly natural processes. We pray that President Obama recognizes this and will govern accordingly, and not sanction the indoctrination of young minds in a secular religion.
*Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2009. Science's Rightful Place. Acts & Facts. 38 (3): 3.